Cabinet orders wage revision for workers

DUBAI — In a move that could have a major impact on the construction industry in the country, the UAE Cabinet yesterday asked the Ministry of Labour (MoL) to review the salaries of workers and prepare a proposal.

By Riyasbabu

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Published: Mon 5 Nov 2007, 8:36 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:35 AM

The review will be undertaken in consultation with the construction companies, Humaid bin Deemas, MoL’s Assistant Under-Secretary, said. However, no timeline has been fixed to submit the proposals. The review is expected to start with immediate effect, Bin Deemas told Khaleej Times.

“We cannot say when the proposals would be ready.”

The MoL officials, he said, will meet the relevant companies in the next few days to conduct the study that is aimed at protecting the rights of both workers and employers.

However, he did not disclose the names of the companies the MoL is planning to consult with.

“The MoL is committed to protecting the rights of workers as well as companies. It is also committed to taking necessary measures to bring an end to any form of violation of the law in this regard,” Bin Deemas said.

Salary deductions

Stating that any arbitrary salary deduction is a violation of the labour law, he said the MoL strongly insists that all workers must receive full wages without any deductions, for whatever reason.

“The MoL totally rejects the excuses being given by some companies for their practice of withholding wages,” he said.

“The UAE government considers any salary deduction as an unacceptable form of exploitation that is in contravention of the law. We are determined to eradicate this practice.” The official warned the companies that they would face hefty fines and other punishments if they are found violating the law by the supervisory committee. The Cabinet has also directed the MoL to come up with a uniform set of standards and specifications for housing facilities of workers in all sectors in the UAE, in coordination with the local authorities concerned. These would be strictly implemented nationwide, he said.

The MoL, in collaboration with the relevant local agencies, would intensify inspections of workers’ accommodation, Bin Deemas said, noting that some of the housing facilities being provided to workers are sub-standard and do not meet the conditions and specifications laid down by the laws of the state.

Explaining the MoL stand vis a vis labour protests, Bin Deemas said the ministry has made a clear distinction between pressing demands in a peaceful manner and the acts of riots and vandalism which have occurred in some cases.

“Riots, damage to public and private property and threats to the country’s security and stability will be severely dealt with,” he said.

Indian mission, firms hail move

Meanwhile, the Indian mission and the companies welcomed the move describing it as “constructive”.

Venu Rajamony, Indian Consul-General in Dubai, said: “We are looking forward to see the results of the study. The rising cost of living in the country is a known factor. Hence, this is a right move and we welcome it.”

N. M. Noushad, Group HR Manager of Wade Adams Contracting Company, said: “The cost of living is rising day by day. I think it is a constructive decision that has come at the right time. We believe the standard of living of workers should be maintained and upgraded factoring in the cost of living.

“Our company had given two increments to workers this year. We believe that they (workers) are our strength,” he added.

Manager of another contracting company who wished not to be named said: “I agree that the salary should match the cost of living. But companies have practical problems to increase the salaries suddenly. It will affect their budgets.”

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